In 2021, nearly 27K homes were sold in Northern Virginia— this is reported to be the highest number since 2005 according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. Whether you’re selling your house in a seller’s market, a buyer’s market, or a balanced market, it’s vital to stand out more than ever.
As a real estate agent, I have some excellent advice on what to do to sell your house if you want to charm your potential buyers, sell fast, and sell for the best price your home deserves.
The competition will always be there—the trick is to distinguish yourself from others by going the extra mile.
Here are my top 5 tips on what to do to sell your house!
First and foremost, effective pricing is the most important thing you can do to get a great price for your home sale, and this is even more important in a shifting market.
Believe it or not, overpricing your house can actually lead to a significant drop in price later on. The more you shoot for, the less you might get. The secret is to know just the right price: not too high, not too low, competitive, and ready to spark a bidding war, or at least get the most possible interest from buyers.
Selling a house isn’t actually so different from selling any other product. If you saw two identical cars at two different dealerships, would you go for the more expensive one?
Of course not. Buyers always want a better deal. As a seller, your job is to show them why your house is better than other houses in the neighborhood at a very similar price.
Here’s what happens when you overprice your house:
Now consider the opposite scenario:
Remember, depending on the state of the real estate market and your home’s level of upgrades, you can sometimes get away with pricing a little higher than other sellers.
The first week on the market is always the most vital. Make sure your house makes a great impression as soon as it’s listed!
It’s the small things that often make the biggest difference. Chipped wood, leaky faucets, marked-up walls, doors that don’t close properly—these are all things that can make or break the deal.
When buyers see there’s a lot of maintenance needed in the house, they will:
One of the best things to do to sell your house is to look over your home with a critical eye and make a list of all the things—big or small—that need fixing.
Here’s the truth: The more you can present your home as a sparkling showpiece, the more money you'll make on your sale. Consider spending a little bit to update some outdated spaces, such as the bathroom or the kitchen, in order to get a better price on your home.
Of the five senses, sight is the most valued by the general public. When a buyer sees a clean and decluttered house, they will automatically hold your home in higher esteem.
Here are some ways to present a clean home:
Staging works. Period.
If you’re wondering what to do to sell your house, staging is one of the things you should absolutely consider because it makes your buyers emotionally invested in the space. And the more emotional a buyer gets, the higher the likelihood of a great deal.
What’s more, buyers often lack imagination when viewing vacant homes. They look at two rooms of the same size and consider the vacant one to be smaller because they can’t picture how much furniture can actually fit in the room.
You don’t have to stage your whole house—ask your agent to help you explore discounted staging options that include staging in only a limited number of rooms. Virtual staging (adding digital furniture to photos of an empty space in a computer-assisted design process) also works.
A few rooms are enough to give the buyer a sense of home, a hint of what they could potentially have, a mental image of themselves and their belongings existing in the space. Staging completes the picture in the buyer’s mind, which turns a possibility into a dream.
The money you invest into professional staging makes a great return when you sell your house for a higher price, thanks to the emotional investment you’ve managed to create.
A Pro Tip: Don’t spend a lot of money on big system upgrades right before selling your house. Focus on the more cosmetic aspects. Buyers want a beautiful house that feels like home. New windows or a great HVAC system are just a nice bonus.
Last but definitely not least, hiring an amazing real estate agent is a must. Some tell-tale signs of an agent who’s worth every penny include:
Prioritize professional cleaning, decluttering, and small cosmetic upgrades such as positioning house plants throughout the house or planting some flowers in the garden. Small landscaping upgrades are a great way to enhance curb appeal.
Competitive pricing is vital. Make your house look as beautiful as possible and price it competitively when compared to recent comparable sales in the neighborhood. Always take into account your home's condition and the level of upgrades.
In Northern Virginia, the best time to sell your house is usually spring. I would say that April is the absolute best month. Any time period between late February and late May is great, though.
The worst time would be around Christmas.
For specific advice on what to do to sell your house in Northern Virginia, get my free report on competitive pricing. It explains what it is in more detail, as well as why it doesn't work everywhere in the United States and why it’s such a successful strategy in the Northern Virginia real estate market.